Blues hoping to tie down Wales stars
December 29, 2012
Wales captain Sam Warburton is contracted with Cardiff Blues until the end of next season © PA Photos
Cardiff Blues are hoping to agree new long-term deals with international duo Sam Warburton and Leigh Halfpenny.
The Grand Slam heroes both have another season to run on their existing deals but the Blues are keen to secure their services beyond the 2013-14 season in a bid to prevent them becoming the latest Welsh stars to be lured overseas.
Blues centre Jamie Roberts revealed earlier this year that he will leave the region at the end of the season with French Top 14 side Racing Metro expected to be his destination but another Wales international - winger Alex Cuthbert - bucked the trend by recently committing his future to the Arms Park.
Blues chief executive Richard Holland hopes to bring yet more stability to the playing squad by tying down arguably their most-prized assets. "What we are trying to do at the moment is not have a repeat of the scenario of the beginning of this year when we had 15 players leaving," Holland told the Western Mail. "So we are already talking to players who are coming out of contract in 2014 to extend their services beyond that date.
"It's a case of looking to retain everyone who Phil (Davies) thinks is pivotal to the Blues future. Conversations are taking place. We have got time on our side, but we certainly recognise we need to have those conversations now. That can only put us in a stronger position for the future."
The Blues are also busy securing the services of players who come out of contract at the end of this season. "A lot of them are done," said Holland. "We have got a lot of announcements to make in the coming weeks. Some are still in discussion and negotiation."
However, it seems that a reported deal to bring Wales and Lions prop Gethin Jenkins back to the Blues from Toulon looks unlikely to materialise. Jenkins has struggled for first-team opportunities at the French club where Andrew Sheridan is the preferred loose-head berth.
"We've had conversations with Gethin's people and unfortunately we haven't been able to reach an agreement with them," said Holland. "So there's no news on that front."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The days of when one team dominated the championship are a thing of the past, I think it will be even closer next year." The Phil Vickery column
The 2014 Six Nations has been and gone and the tournament has been painted green. Monday Maul looks back at the weekend's talking points
"The fairytale continued right to the end for the magic man." Tom Hamilton reports on the game that saw Brian O'Driscoll bid adieu with the Six Nations title
"It is a sign of how far this England team have come that they looked disappointed at the full-time whistle having just put 52 points on Italy." Tom Hamilton writes